tv Stephanie Ruhle Reports MSNBC August 9, 2021 6:00am-7:00am PDT
going into hospitals, getting put on ventilators, gasping for air and some even dying alone. so, it is okay to have compassion for people who are afraid of the vaccine, but i ask you to compassionately share with your family and friends how this need for the vaccine is desperate. and their lives, lives of their children, the lives of the american people and this country moving forward depends on them getting the vaccine. that does it for us this morning. stephanie ruhle picks up the coverage right now. hi there. i'm stephanie ruhle. it is monday, august 9th. this morning, we're following several major stories across the country. more trouble for andrew cuomo. overnight, the new york governor's top aide officially resigning as he faces mounting pressure to step down over sexual harassment allegations.
and in just a few minutes, the state lawmakers are set to discuss impeaching the governor. while behind closed doors, two top former justice department officials are answering lawmakers' questions over the weekend about just how far former president trump went to overturn the election results. and those in the justice department that actively helped him. we're going to hear from grammy award-winning musician who is making major headlines after requiring vaccines at his concerts in austin, texas. a city with just six icu beds left open. the praise and the backlash he's now getting. we've got to start, of course, this morning with covid. the good news right now is that half the country has officially been fully vaccinated. but at the very same time, the number of average cases are topping 100,000 a day for the first time since last february. the rate of hospitalizations and deaths nationwide have both jumped more than 90% over the last two weeks. of course, the biggest problem
is in places with very low vaccination rates. states like mississippi, alabama and louisiana. all in the bottom five in terms of vaccinations, but the top five in terms of cases. the situation is particularly bad across the south. talking about places like florida where covid patients are taking up a quarter of the hospital beds in the state and at the same time, the state's governor ron desantis has tried to ban masks and so-called vaccine passports that prove he got the shot. just yesterday, a judge ruled in favor of norwegian cruise lines saying they can demand proof of vaccines. the state of louisiana, the new case rate is the highest in the u.s. and among the highest in the entire world. hospitalizations are up. 130% in two weeks. for anybody who says it's like the flu, i'm going to say it again. hospitalizations are up 130% in two weeks. on sunday, the annual new orleans jazz fest was canceled for the second year in a row
specifically due to the surge in cases. and down noaustin, texas, icu wards are nearing capacity. down to just six beds in a city with more than 2 million people. my colleague morgan chesky is in austin. mara barrett in memphis, tennessee, where kids are headed back to school today. also dr. ezekiel emanuel, from global initiatives at the university of pennsylvania. he was health policy adviser in the obama white house and part of president biden's transition board on covid-19. morgan, i know things are rough down south, but austin sounds particularly bad. what's going on? >> steph, you mentioned that number. this came out over the weekend. 14 icu beds for 2.3 million people in the greater austin area. it's hard to imagine that that number actually got worse from then to monday morning but, yes, six icu beds in the greater austin area. we know warnings were sent out
from officials saying this is a dire situation. please mask up. please stay home if at all possible, and there's a couple of reasons for that. the numbers are so bad with this delta variant sweeping across the south and hitting texas especially hard. local leaders no longer have the authority to issue a mask mandate because of an executive order by greg abbott that prohibits them from doing so. what we're seeing in austin and houston and dallas, are local leaders essentially encouraging the public to do everything they can because it will be up to the public at this point as of right now in texas to see how much covid-19 spread can be curbed using practices that we already know. masking up, keeping those hands clean and hopefully avoiding any public gathering areas. we know to the north in the dallas area, hospitalizations have quadrupled over the past several weeks. in that area, you have a population of about 8 million people. they have 75 icu beds there.
so it is an absolutely concerning situation. and one story in particularly heartbreaking. a mother of an 11-month-old girl had to have her daughter airlifted more than 150 miles to another hospital for covid-19 because the one she went to was full. steph? >> wow. doctor, for people who are vaccinated, how likely is it that we get the virus, and if so, how sick are we going to get? because the numbers i see show it's less than 1 in 300 vaccinated americans even getting it. >> you're absolutely right. the other way to put it is 3 in 1,000 of vaccinated people exposed. 3 in 1,000 are going to get it. so it's a pretty rare event. 97%, 98% of the people in the hospitals are unvaccinated, not vaccinated. so your chance, if you've been vaccinated, and unfortunately
get this delta variant, of getting into the hospital, being seriously ill and, god forbid, dying, are very, very low. so the vaccine is quite protective against the most serious consequences, protective against getting infected. it's not 100%, but it's very rare you get anything that's 100%. it's so good, though. the risk/benefit ratio are go individual is tremendously positive to getting the vaccine. >> for you and me, why are we being asked to wear masks? if it's to keep our kids safe, i'm on board for that. if it's to look after all of these unvaccinated people who are choosing not to get the free readily available vaccine, if it's for them, they can go fish. >> well, i would say it's actually all of that. it's to decrease the spread in a community. we know from provincetown that even vaccinated people who get a
very mild case can be producing a lot of virus and spread the virus. so you do want to keep it down. and you can spread it to people who are vaccinated but may not have mounted a good response like cancer patients or the elderly. it's also for protecting kids under 12 who can't get the vaccine yet. so i don't think you get to choose which one you're protecting. there's always a good reason to, first, get the vaccine but also wear the mask. can i say, stephanie, one of the important things is we really now need to emphasize wearing a mask, wearing it properly over the nose and get a good mask. n95 masks that fit over your face very tightly. those are the ones you want to get. when you go inside the grocery stores or pharmacies or wherever you're going, when you're walking just on the street, there aren't a lot of people, you don't need to wear the mask. if you're going to a crowd, a concert or something, wearing a mask is important. you'll be with a lot of people
and even outdoors for a prolonged period of time. that's where masking can help. >> mara, masking can help in schools and the kids in memphis today on their first day back are going to be wearing masks. who is making that decision? >> well, stephanie, that was a local decision made by the school district because the republican governor here has stayed away from issuing a statewide mandate when it comes to schools. the middle school students showing up for their first day back for in-person learning in more than a year and a half. they increased air ventilation, reduced class sizes for younger students not able yet to get vaccinated and they're very excited and say they haven't received a lot of pushback in terms of wearing a mask. in shelby county, it's the largest school district in the state of tennessee. more than 100,000 students. just in the last two weeks they've seen their case rate spike more than 200%.
25% of those cases are from those younger children. and so that's the main concern that we're seeing here in memphis as they go back to school. but it is this continued political conversation. and i asked the superintendent specifically about that in his decision to issue this mask mandate. take a listen to some of our conversation. >> the governor and i, we have a great working relationship. possibly disagree on the mask issue. but that's okay. right here in memphis shelby county schools, our students wear masks, but the governor does understand, this is a local decision. at the end of the day, we're going to do what's best for children and that's safety first. >> the superintendent says they are following the science. he wants to stay away from political drama. at the end of the day when it's just one of a handful of districts in the state doing this, the speaker of the state house here wants to call a special legislative session to discuss pulling funding from public schools to help parents who don't want their kids to be
masked, send them to private schools. that's a added thing. here in shelby county, everyone will be masked from the moment they get to the bus to when they go into school and go home at the end of the day. >> doctor, look at the numbers. the percentage of cases among kids keeps going up. they were 19% of all new cases at the end of july. at the very same time you've got people like former mayor mike bloomberg writing op-eds saying that kids back in school has to be our number one priority. how do you balance the two? are kids getting so sick that we have to consider going remote again, closing schools? because that was devastating. >> no, i don't think that's right. i think mayor bloomberg is right that we can do schools safely. we do have to do the things that memphis did. we have to decrease the number of students per classroom. improve the ventilation. we have to have outdoor time where they can take their masks off.
those are important items to have. and i think that's the right approach. i don't think abandoning schools is the right thing to do at the moment. and by the way, those plexiglas items around desk are a waste of money. better to get hepa filters and improve the ventilation in schools and that's going to be a much better way of going. decreasing the time kids are in the hallways with each other, passing is also probably another important element. and, of course, when you can vaccinate them, in high school and getting all the teachers and staff vaccinated, are also important elements to happen. >> get vaccinated. that is my takeaway. dr. emmanuel, morgan, maura, thank you. from around the country to washington now, we've got to take a look. the bipartisan infrastructure bill is one step closer to the
finish line. leigh ann caldwell is there. where do we stand? >> the senate worked through the weekend to continue this bipartisan infrastructure bill and they took another key procedural vote last night that could look very like the vote on final passage. and on that vote, there are 19 republicans who supported this bipartisan bill. there were two republicans who were absent who were likely to vote for it. so that would make the number to 21. you have members of mcconnell's leadership team, including senator roy blunt and mcconnell himself who voted for it. including members of this g22 bipartisan group who came up with this legislation. but i will say the republicans are divided on this issue. not only on the vote itself and the legislation itself, but also on messaging. you had members like senator todd young of indiana who came
out last night saying he's not going to vote for it because it's tied too closely to the $3.5 trillion human infrastructure bill. well, they are divided on messaging because people like leader mcconnell saying, no, these are two separate pieces of legislation that he does not want the public to think that they are tied together. so they have a little bit of a messaging issue moving forward. but where things stand, the final vote is expected very early tomorrow morning around 4:00 a.m. it could happen in the dead of night. if there's an agreement among all 100 senators, they could move that to the daytime so we all could watch it, steph. >> let's stay on that. the big-name republicans and 19 of them, including mitch mcconnell, supported the bill last night. we keep waiting to see if mcconnell is going to pull the rug out from under this. you know him very well. what do you think he's going to do? >> so far, he doesn't appear to be that way. i think a lot of republicans have been happy with how this has moved along. the process.
the fact they were able to have a number of amendments, the time that it took, the fact that you had republicans negotiating with democrats on this bill. i think as far as all public signs that senate minority leader mcconnell has done. we try to read the tea leaves and what his body language is suggesting. it suggests that he and others in his leadership feel this package is going to go forward, that it should go forward, that this is one example of the senate actually working the way it is supposed to. so at this point, no sign that he's going to turn his support or try to whip against it. this all seems like everything but a foregone conclusion, and the only reason we're still talking about it is because of senator haggerty, the freshman from tennessee, who has decided that he wanted to kind of extend this as much as possible in the senate. it takes one senator to gum things up and that's what we've seen happen over the past weekend. >> gum things up, though, jake.
does that mean slow it up or stop it. i didn't even know bill haggerty's name until yesterday. what kind of influence does he have? he's no mitch mcconnell, but haggerty blocking this thing, he's doing what trump wants him to do. trump doesn't like it. >> there's virtually nothing that he can do. bill haggerty was donald trump's ambassador to japan. but, no, he has no chance of stopping it. the point he's trying to make, according to him, is that it spends too much money. the debt is too high and this is not paid for. so what he's doing is he's standing in the way of what is called, as anna and leigh ann have said is unanimous consent agreement to change the time of the bill. so there's 30 hours they have to burn through here and he's forcing them to burn through this. otherwise, this bill would pass right now and as ann indicated, mcconnell is probably going to vote for. connell of texas likely will vote for it. there's a chance this will come out of the senate with 70 votes.
a package of this magnitude coming out with 70 votes is a throw back to an earlier era of congress when these big kinds of packages got out with 70, 80, 90 votes. haggerty's point has been heard. and he's not going to relent but it has no actual impact. has no ability to stop this legislation which has -- enjoys overwhelming support. >> a throwback? isn't that what make america great again was trying to do? anna, you were talking about mixed messaging from republicans. what about democrats? over the weekend, moderate democrats in the house wrote a letter to nancy pelosi urging her to vote on this bipartisan hard infrastructure deal alone. not the $3.5 trillion. what does that tell you about how committed democrats are in the house to getting that bigger bill moving? schumer has said he wants it to be a one, two punch, but does everyone? >> yeah, i think this is just really underscoring how hard of
a job speaker nancy pelosi is going to have in the next phases. we spent the last weeks and months really focused on the dynamics in the senate. her dynamics in the house are really tough. four-seat majority. and that letter underscores to me, where the divisions are. you have these moderates who say we want to move forward on infrastructure immediately. we have concerns about the size and scope of this budget resolution, and at the same time, you have progressives. aoc and others who have said, no, we need both of these things to happen in order for us to get behind them. and so the speaker so far had said she's going to do both of them together. i think that's just a reflection of the reality of her caucus. where she knows the votes are. as much as the moderates are putting up a fight right now, i think they oftentimes cave and, if nothing else, it's hard to see them standing in the way of joe biden's biggest legislative accomplishment during his first term. >> all right.
anna, jake, leigh ann, thank you so much. when we come back, a grammy award-winning singer facing backlash after requiring vaccines at his austin concerts. a city with just six empty icu beds left. maybe he's facing backlash or maybe he's going to gain a whole lot of new fans. time could be running out for new york governor cuomo as lawmakers meet this hour to talk about impeachment. we'll go straight to albany, next. sweat 3x more. and the provitamin b5 formula is gentle on skin. with secret, outlast anything! no sweat. secret. ♪ all strength. no sweat. ♪ to make my vision a reality. i have to take every perspective, and see clearly from every point of view. with my varilux progressive lenses i seamlessly transition from near to far. and see every detail in sharp focus. when you see no limits, there are no limits.
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we are following three major developments after that scathing report from the new york state's attorney general accusing governor andrew cuomo of sexually harassing almost a dozen women. first the state assembly's judiciary committee is meeting moments from now to consider possible articles of impeachment against the governor. second, the governor's top aide resigned last night. and third, one self-identified accuser is speaking publicly for the very first time after filing a criminal complaint against the governor last week. brittany commisso broke her silence on cbs earlier this morning. watch this. >> these were not hugs that he would give his mother or, you know, his brother. these were hugs with the intention of getting some personal sexual satisfaction out of. then they started to be hugs with kisses on the cheek, and then there was, at one point, a hug and then when he went to go kiss me on the cheek he quickly
turned his head and kissed me on the lips. >> the governor has not been charged with any crime at this time. he disputes the allegations and denies any wrongdoing. kathy park is following the latest developments. also joining usuzanne craig, "the new york times" investigative reporter and former albany bureau chief for "the new york times." she's covered andrew cuomo for years and years. and dan alonzo with us, former chief assistant district attorney for the manhattan da and also special counsel for the new york state senate the last time they expelled a sitting senator. kathy, who is brittany commisso, and what more is she saying? >> good morning. she has self-identified as executive assistant number one as labeled in the explosive ag report that came out just a couple of days ago. she was hired back in 2017. but she said she was more than just the executive assistant to the governor. she is a mother, a daughter, a
colleague. and she told another media outlet, she went into further detail about two incidents where the governor allegedly crossed the line. one incident on new year's eve 2019 when he asked to take a selfie and he allegedly placed his hand on her bottom. and then there was another incident in november of 2020 where she says that he was more sexually aggressive. take a listen. >> he put his hand up my blouse and cupped my breast over my bra. i exactly remember looking down, seeing his hand, which is a large land, thinking to myself, oh, my god. this is happening? it happened so quick. he didn't say anything. when i stopped it, he just pulled away and walked away. >> now commisso said that she didn't say anything for three months, but the tipping point
was march of last year when governor cuomo held a press conference and denied any wrongdoing as the sexual harassment allegations began to come forward. she has filed a criminal complaint with the albany county sheriff and over the weekend, i was here all weekend, and the sheriff said that eventually she will have to come back for further questioning. the sheriff's office will also be linking up with the district tarn's office as well to determine next steps in this investigation, steph. >> suzanne, what she just described is a lot more than what the governor has said. i'm affectionate, i'm a hugger, i'm a kisser. why is her testimony so potentially key? >> well, i think it's key first because of the granularity of the details and it's awful to hear it. and it's one of -- it's now 1 of 11. it just feels like over the weekend, you have really seen the wheels coming off the bus here. you've got the charges now in
play. you've got melissa derosa, the secretary to the governor last night that -- the highest ranking nonelected official in the state resign last night. and then coming into this morning, you've got now the assembly judiciary committee meeting. all three of these things coming together. there's going to be a lot of discussion this morning at that meeting about next steps. and the governor has a lot of procedural fights he wants to wage. when i look at all of this, you're just thinking, he can do all of this and fight with the assembly but this saul politics now, and he is losing support. it's like quicksand. >> suzanne, derosa resigning. how dig a deal is this? she has been his huge shield since 2013. definitely the most recognizable name and face in that office outside of his. >> it's incredibly significant. she's a very loyal employee. she's in the middle of all of this. she's been by his side for years. and last night it was shocking
just because you're now seeing interests diverge. and today the governor's heading into this meeting. he's not going to be there, but he's facing this potential impeachment and they're going to be fighting that but at the same time, he's just -- things just seem to be coming apart. >> dan, the state assembly judiciary is set to meet in just a couple of minutes to consider impeachment. can you walk us through the timeline and what we can expect? because impeachment is different from these criminal allegations. >> it sure is, although the criminal allegations could figure into potential articles of impeachment. it's not required that there be a crime in order to impeach in new york state. unlike the federal system where we know that there are -- there's a standard of high crimes or misdemeanors or bribery or treason in the constitution, that's not there in new york. so it's unclear exactly what the assembly can impeach for.
and so, therefore, it's essentially what it is, which is a political process. they can impeach for whatever they deem to be something that is worthy of impeachment. so this morning what we expect to have happen is that, outside counsel for the judiciary committee will brief the judiciary committee on the investigation. not clear how detailed it's going to be, but in terms of what happens this morning, we expect that to happen. some of it may be political theater. there may be some posturing. and then they've given the governor until this friday to produce information that's relevant to potential articles of impeachment which we could see as early as next week. they also, i understand, have issued a subpoena, though it's not clear whether that's to the governor or to the executive chamber which is the office of the governor. >> i know we're out of time but i have to ask you, suzanne, because you know him better than anyone else. i know who covers him. what do you think he's going to do, knowing him as well as you do? >> i'm really bad at
predictions, but i think we're going to see two things going on. worngs you'll see this procedural fight where he's asked for his counsel has for the transcripts of the investigation that the attorney general has. and i think that that is a strategy. i think there's a reasonable argument that they should see them. and that's going to be potentially protected. it could involve litigation but at the same time he's going to be watching the news and gauging for support. in politics, a day is a long time. and politics is his oxygen. he's just going to be watching the clock and trying to beat it out and hoping that every day we become less interested in this scandal. >> sweating it out in august. kathy, suzanne, dan, thank you all so much. i appreciate you joining us. coming up next -- what two former justice department officials told lawmakers behind closed doors for hours and hours over the weekend.
and they were department of justice officials during the trump administration. what could all of it mean for former president trump? we'll talk to the reporter who broke that story, next. ♪ someone once told me, that i should get used to people staring. so i did. it's okay, you can stare. when you're a two-time gold medalist, it comes with the territory.
developing this morning, jeffrey rosen, get to know this name. the acting attorney general during the final months of the trump administration. he testified over the weekend about trump's efforts to try and overturn the election. we also learned his former deputy talked to a senate committee about it on friday
before rosen gave his, wait for it, seven hours of testimony himself on saturday. joining me now to discuss, the reporter who broke this story. i'm so glad she's here. justice department reporter katie benner. also former federal prosecutor glen kershner. kateie, first of all, we don't know what rosen said, but the fact it was seven hours, that's a lot. i want you to explain another name to us, though. investigators are focused on a former doj official named jeffrey clark. who is he? what did he do? >> sure, jeffrey clark was the real focus of the conversation that rosn had with investigators. he worked at the justice department. he ran the civil division that litigates the positions in court. also ran the environmental national resources division. he was really low key. few outside of the department ever knew who he was. what emerged in december is that jeffrey clark was an official inside the department who
believed that president trump may have won. he thought truly that there could have been fraud that impacted the election. and he thought this despite the fact that former attorney general bill barr said that was not the case. the fact that jeffrey rosen said that was not the case. and that top officials at the department believed the election was correct. the election was valid because they had actually done their own investigative work looking to allegations of fraud that former president trump had made and asked them to look into. so clark was the rare figure who thought there was a way for trump to win the election. and unbeknownst to his colleagues he was in communications directly with president trump, which is a big no-no, saying to him, we can find a way to help you win. >> i want to know how close they were to finding that way because, obviously, we all saw what happened on january 6th. but help us understand this timeline of what they were doing. how close were they to any sort of breakthrough here?
it's crazy. >> i think that people inside the department, including former officials like jeff rosen would say legally, they were nowhere near close to overturning the election because the election was valid. the results were valid and there was not any legal way to overturn it. what they were close to doing, they were close to putting out, for example, letters to officials in georgia and perhaps even other states. there would be an official indicator that something was wrong. even if that was false, even if that was not true, what it would do is further poison the minds of the electorate. further cause people to believe, voters to believe that the election was marred by fraud. and by inserting that bigger than a seed of doubt, by inserting that official voice saying that something bad had happened, it would go a long way toward, again, undermining faith in democracy. and that is what they were close to doing. >> glenn, i'd like to believe that poisoning the minds of the electorate is criminal, but
maybe it's not. what kind of consequences could he face? >> great question, steph. let's plug katie's great reporting into a legal framework and with apologies, steph, i'm going to enlist you in a hypothetical crime. i've done this to you before on air. so what we have here is the president asking his doj officials to lie. say the election was corrupt and leave the rest to me. we now know that jeffrey clark, a doj official, took him up on that. and what he did was he authored a letter to georgia state officials and the state officials of five other states, trying to implement donald trump's lie and undermine the election results. what that is, steph, the minute i saw that reporting about what jeff clark did, i thought now we have not only a conspiracy, an agreement between two people to commit a crime, defraud the united states, undermine the election results. we have the second element of conspiracy which is an overt act. so if you and i agree to rob a
bank and i went out and got the gun, you went out and rented the car because we were going to use a rental car in the bank robbery and then the next day we abandon our plans. we thought we're not going to do it. guess what? even though we didn't rob the bank, we didn't actually move on to the object of the conspiracy, you and i, hypothetically, committed the crime of conspiracy to rob a bank. that is what these facts support and demand an investigation of. a conspiracy that was involved president trump and involved jeff clark and perhaps others. >> katie, for four years, we saw, you know, don mcgahn, john bolton and others drag their feet, drag their feet when it came to testifying. what should we take around rosen moving so quickly to testify? he did it so fast. it's like trump's team couldn't even block him. what does that tell you, and how nervous should trump's team be that he did testify for seven
hours? >> well, i think that it's true that rosen moved very quickly. now people have pointed out it's been seven months since he left government. what was going on in the background? he was negotiating with the justice department under the biden administration to say, what can i tell investigators because, in general, former officials like jeff rosen are just not allowed to talk about conversations they had with the president. they're not allowed to talk about executive branch discussions. those things are covered by privilege. rosen did need to get an okay from the justice department. he needed officials to say, hey, listen, we are not going to invoke executive privilege, and you do what you will with that freedom. he immediately reached out personally to the inspector general of the justice department, michael horowitz and said, what do you need from me? he went in as quickly as he could and then, y he did speak to the senate judiciary committee for seven hours. now that says to me he feels he has a story to tell, but he feels something happened that was not right and that he does
have some fear that the trump team would have moved to block his testimony because what he's provided to investigators is a road map and several more threads upon which they can pull. he's giving them information they can build on as they try to better understand what happened. and he is, because he was the acting attorney general, because he was in the room for all these conversations, because the president was reaching out to him directly, he would be a key witness if not one of the most important witnesses. i can't say how nervous the trump team should be. i will say these things always move slowly and everybody needs to manage their expectations around what can happen next. investigators will continue to conduct interviews, gather documents. it could take months and months. just remember how long it takes for an inspector general investigation to complete. that's more than a year. >> i just like to see what it looks like when trump's team blocks him. blocks him from where? a golf course in jersey? palm beach? they're not in office. thank you both so much. katie, amazing reporting. coming up -- nearly 700,000
bikers are in south dakota right now for a ten-day motorcycle rally. but with no masks, no testing and no vaccine rules, health officials are fearing the worst. we'll hear from the musician, the grammy-winning musician who is mandating the vaccine at his concerts down in texas. what pushed him to make that decision. and the backlash he's getting. that's next. my auntie called me. she said uncle's had a heart attack. i needed him to be here. your heart isn't just yours. protect it with bayer aspirin. be sure to talk to your doctor before you begin an aspirin regimen. like you, my hands are everything to me. but i was diagnosed with dupuytren's contracture.
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dakota. this rally led to more than 600 infections last year that we know of. what's it like on the ground? >> hey there stephanie. those cases came from the smaller crowd last year than is expected this year. health officials are trying to do everything they can to prevent that from happening again with a crowd of 700,000 people expected this year. they have the masks and hand sanitizer ready for anybody who wants it. but they're giving away the johnson & johnson one-shot coronavirus vaccine. you can get vaccinated right here, right now at the rally. they are also allowing people to drink outside. folks hope that will prevent crowding in the bars. as we know transmission outside is a lot less likely than transmission inside bars. but there's also -- the unvaccinated and vaccinated people at this rally. i want to introduce you to two people who are unvaccinated who don't have a concern in the world about coronavirus. >> no, not at all. doesn't bother me. to me, it's just a common cold.
that's the way i look at it. >> i don't feel we should have to show a card to do things. that's a loss of freedom as far as i'm concerned. >> now stephanie, this rally is big business for the state of south dakota. we're talking $800 million in economic revenue. it's a conversation between officials balancing public health and economic health. stephanie? >> gary, thank you. this delta variant isn't stopping that rally, but it is threatening events across the nation. it's putting a damper on festivals and converts after we've seen major ut breaks tied to shows. that's especially true in the live music capital of the world with austin, texas, sounding the alarm about covid over the weekend after the number of icu beds dropped to single digits. my next guest is there now and asking his fans to wear masks and show proof of vaccination or a negative covid test if they want to see him live. joining me, four-time grammy award-winning musician jason isbell. first, i want to thank you for
what you're doing for your leadership. i know you got pushback from some fans and other artists, including one who i didn't even get this who said you were being elitist for taking these safety measures. i don't know how you can be elitist about a vaccine that's free and readily available to all adults across the country, but what are you saying to the critics? >> well, you know, it's been a long time since we've been able to go into places and play shows for people. and i don't think that's going to last very long unless we do it carefully. there's never enough. we can't guarantee that everybody coming to the show is coming safely and they're not going to be spreading the virus. but i think it's up to all of us to do what we can just to keep the music business running. and we're going to get shut back down again real soon if we don't start doing this. you know, i don't understand the
elitist thing. i mean, i don't know. maybe that guy has a harder time getting feem come to his shows. i don't know. but it doesn't really feel -- it's a little bit safer to me, that's all. >> well, people are still lining up to come see you. you'll be playing in austin for the third night in a row later this evening. requiring masks and vaccines is a huge undertaking. did you consider canceling outright? >> you know, i considered it because i am -- i'm scared. i'm scared for the audience. i'm scared for people's kids at home and in school who can't get the vaccine yet. so, yeah, i considered canceling outright. but what we decided to do was for all of our shows, everywhere going forward, we're going to require either a vaccine card or a negative test and we're going to ask everyone to wear masks. and i feel like we'll probably get some pushback from certain states on that. and a lot of cases, some of the
venues are receiving state funds, and the states are threatening to withhold those funds for places who allow their artists to require proof of vaccination or covid test. but we'll just deal with whatever we have to deal with. if we have to cancel some shows, we'll cancel we'll cancel some shows and if we get sued, i'll get up and talk on behalf of the people in the audience. because i think it's more important to keep them safe. you know, we're not providing something that's necessarily essential. we're not giving people health care or food or shelter. we're trying to entertain folks. so i'm not saying anybody has to get a vaccine or a negative test, but if you don't, then you don't get to come to the show. i think that makes sense. >> but jason, you're also doing this because you want to keep performing. you want the venues to stay hope. for those places that could lose state funding if they put these
requirements in place, do they understand, do you believe they understand the risk of this delta variant and how it could shut us all down again and go back to where we were last year? >> yes. i think the people who work at the venues and who work in the music business understand, if everything that i've heard so far, all the response i've gotten from people in the business has been positive, because they understand that we could go back to not working at all, and a lot of these smaller venues aren't going to be able to reopen if they go through another round of shutdowns. yes, i think they understand. i think the problem is, they're just getting so much pushback from some of the governors of certain states who want to cowtow to their political base and try to make people think their freedom is encroached upon. i'm all for freedom but if
you're dead, you don't have any freedoms at all so it's probably important to stay alive before you start questioning your liberty. it's life and then it's liberty, and then it's the pursuit of happiness, and those are in order of priority. >> amen to that. jason, if you lost a few fans don't worry about it. i'm sure you're gaining more. thanks for all you're doing. good luck. >> thank you so much, stephanie, i appreciate it. thanks for talking with me. coming up next the taliban gaining ground in afghanistan, sparking new fears that without the u.s.'s help, the entire country could fall to extremists. we'll bring you the latest from the ground, that's next. ...that helps lower the chances of getting hiv through sex. it's not for everyone. descovy for prep has not been studied in people assigned female at birth. talk to your doctor to find out if it's right for you. descovy is another way to prep. descovy does not prevent other sexually transmitted infections,
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[ soft music playing ] what are you all doing in my daydream? it's better than that presentation. a lot better. you know, whether it's a fraction or a decimal, it's still fun, you know? kelly cobiella is in kabul, are there any talks about asking the u.s. to delay its withdrawal to combat this taliban advancing? >> reporter: not that we've heard. the afghan forces are on their own. there is limited air support from the u.s. still. however that's limited use when talking about intercity fighting, urban warfare.
thetal barch gained control of at least five. six at this hour in question and the biggest is kunduz, city of nearly 300,000 people in the north. there was heavy fighting there yesterday one local official saying both sides were fighting the afghan forces did put up a fight and there were casualties on both sides. images of markets on fire, stores destroyed, people running from the fighting and propaganda videos by the taliban showing them going into government buildings. government forces are still fighting for control for some of these cities but they haven't regained control in any of them.
locals are freeing to the relative safety of kabul. the state department trying to pressure the taliban to get back to the negotiating table. at this hour, the militant group is in no mood for a cease-fire. stephanie? >> no mood for a cease-fire, kelly, thank you for the update and thank you at home for watching. that wraps this hour. i'm stf of it. stephanie ruehl. stephanie ruehl do you struggle with occasional nerve aches, weakness or discomfort in your hands or feet? introducing nervive nerve relief from the world's number 1 selling nerve care company. as we age, natural changes to our nerves occur which can lead to occasional discomfort. nervive contains b complex vitamins that nourish nerves, build nerve insulation and enhance nerve communication. and, alpha-lipoic acid,
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